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Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 399

Monday 21 June 2021, 16:49

An Teallach
(by Dundonnel, summer ‘95)

Heat curled white cloudy fingers around my legs
and we vanished, the dog and I.

Her nose found the path, we rose up
the long slope to shelves
like giants’ stairs, with rock solid wide slabs
deceiving the eye searching for the walker’s friendly cairns;

often, the ghost of a sleakit silence would take form
and envelope all the ear’s mind, blanking
the inner bield, thoughts gone walkabout, then

an Teallach folded out into the giant’s cupped mitt

with the black lochan the giant’s spit, smack in the button-
avoiding the east ridge to save the dog, and
my dog-weary pins, we scrambled down the green stiff
drop to the dark lochan’s soft lip,

whistling and calling, every echo from the stacked rocky columns
ridged about the giant’s palm

boomeranged back in a long ripple, leaving
the long open bowl feeling more deserted still-

Sgurr Fiona, I’ll sup with thee again
thy red wine was sweet, thy rolling slopes so fine.

Roddy Scott

Note: an Teallach is Gaelic for ‘the Forge’, Sgurr Fiona: ‘hill of red wine’

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

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All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 398

Sunday 13 June 2021, 10:44

The ‘conservation nightmare’ of the Ballachulish Goddess

Wit the fuck huv they dun tae ma heid?
I leuk like yon Norwegian wifie wailin oan a pier!
I uised tae be bonnie, wi’ a bit o’ brawn oan ma banes.
Noo I’m jist a rickle o’ banes… aw wizzent!

See yon label – haiverin’ oan aboot me haudin’
some ‘phallic symbol’ in ma haund?
Wit havers! Can theym high-heid-yins no’ see
it’s a spurtle fur ma parritch?

Gif I’d been yon bowsie bugger Odin, or yon
auld bastart Thor (he hud a mooth oan him that wan)
they’d huv ta’en guid care o’ me fur sure!
Wudnae huv let thair tadgers dry oot!

Aw ma bits ur yeukie an’ raw – ah’v been needin’
a guid claw, a guid drouk, a guid shaggin’
fur centuries! Yous look a poustie laddie, ken.
Aye yoo! Dinnae look awa’ – I’ve got ma wee

quartz e’en fixit oan yur braw bahookie
and ma big scrabbilit fingurs’ll be gi’in yoo
an affi guid feel – soon as I bluiter oot this gless.
Whoar ur yous gaun?! I’m needin’ ma hochmagandy!

Char March 

Note: The Ballachulish Goddess was dug up in 1880 on the shore of Loch Leven at Ballachulish, Nether Lochaber from under deep peat. She's been radiocarbon dated to over 2,500 years old. Read more via the National Museum of Scotland (where she’s now displayed): https://www.nms.ac.uk/explore-our-collections/stories/scottish-history-a...

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 397

Wednesday 9 June 2021, 12:32

Hamilton Roots

Driving along Mill Road, Neil Diamond singing
“LA’s fine but it ain’t home”
I think of home,
and Hamilton is home. 

In my privileged youth I wandered
in the Andes to Machu Picchu 

Watched the marvels of Milford Sound,
Franz Josef glacier,
Teotihuacan 

In later years I walked on the snow
through Prague’s peerless centre,
was washed by mass sprays
from Iceland’s huge waterfalls

But you can keep all these
for I know home and my heart 

Union Street where I grew up
Where my parents lived till they died
Three weeks apart.
The huge chestnut tree
that afforded us a kids' outdoor home 

The back grass where I played so many games
Of football, rounders, athletics.
Ghosts of old friends are there still 

St. Mary’s school and church
People I still meet on the street
from those early days 

There are roots under the pavements
Brandon Street
Auchingramont Road
Almada Street.
My roots are there too,
old friends’ roots
my brothers’ and sisters’ roots
my mum and dad’s 

Ed is in Vancouver
Johnny in Portugal
Andrew, Den Haag
but I think of them
in Hamilton,
brothers here.

The Palace Grounds
where fairgrounds meant candy floss
and endless games of football
and putting 

Roots,
deep as existence
keep you stable
in turbulent times 

I spent four years alone
working around the world
getting to know life
but life is an inner universe
a sanctuary, a place of nurture
and inner needs roots

My poetry does not need Paris
beautiful though she is
my poetry is Hamilton poetry
you may laugh
at Lanarkshire as home
for arts and spiritual strength
but if you laugh
It’s because
you understand neither.

Art is.
Spirit is.
Roots are. 

Global wonders
are formed by local love
spread outwards in tiny ripples 

I soak in Hamilton’s love
absorb it fully
appreciate its strength
 and give it out
to the world
if it wants to accept this gift
of Hamilton roots
to a shared world. 

Martin Stepek

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

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All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 396

Tuesday 8 June 2021, 11:03

Point of Sleat

The hard track starts where the road gives out
by the small white church. It switchbacks to a stop
at the empty crofts, one gull on a smokeless chimney,
the cold inlet of Acairseid an Rubh;
then it’s just a thin meandering path
through whin, bright sphagnum, brown peat and reed
to the lighthouse at the Point, the end
where there is nowhere left to go, but back.

Once, at the gate, there was a horse; it lay
against the wall. It seemed asleep. There were no flies;
finches fussed in the grass. The scale of its head
surprised; a fine fringe of hair on the crimped ear,
the eye wide open, bronze and blue as oil on water;
in this empty place, alive with small birds,
a flirt of primrose in the shattered quartz,
a mystery how its dead weight got here.

Another time, a highland man as big as monuments
strode, he said, to the wedding; dressed to kill
with sgian-dhu, and kilt, and froth of lace
below his beard; fluttering in the breeze
that danced with coming snow, a heather spray
tucked in his bonnet-band. The only guest
we saw all that day on the track down to the Point
where no-one seems to live but gulls and sheep.        

And once, as sleet and random fat white flakes
came down aslant the wind and failing light,
hunkered in the lee of the rock, the highland bull
we didn’t see at first; we heard its snotty breathing,
the shift and scrape of bulk; we felt the warmth
of a flank rough as a pegged rug, sensed the heft
of a blunt head, bright horn. It took no notice. That was it.
Once upon a time. No endings at the Point of Sleat.

John Foggin

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

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All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 395

Sunday 6 June 2021, 18:15

The Falls of Shin

It looked and seemed like one enormous
pint of porter constantly pouring itself.
And I stood there in awe drinking this in;
the dark swirling body, the reconstituting froth
and the sheer sound of the stuff
just rushing and racing in spume.
My senses were birling and I had to leave
vowing that tonight, after our meal,
I would order a few sleek ones of my own
to see if I could find the salmon leaping
up to the font to confront the barman
whose hand had spawned this great torrent.

Jim Aitken

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

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All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 394

Thursday 3 June 2021, 13:03

Gazing at Arran’s Goat Fell

the lapping of little waves
the sparkling sun on water
brambles ripe – ready to eat
light breeze shaking long grass
blue sky – blue as blue can be
     free from chem-trails

honking geese flying east
cows in a field half asleep
twee-tweet – an unseen bird
gulls white dots on wet sand
misty line of South Ayrshire
     foreground of white sails

the longing to linger here longer
the longing to make a painting

Larry Butler

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map
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